Case Tumbler from Harbor Freight-Any Good?


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Tall Pine
December 15, 2006, 12:05 AM
Box says its made by Chicago Electric. I question it because Harbor Freight sells a lot of lower grade stuff. But Im game for it if it works/lasts like the name brands.

Also, do you use fine or course media in these things (corn cob stuff).

Thanks,
TP

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Thompsongunner
December 15, 2006, 12:26 AM
I bought one and it works fine. I use corncob for cleaning and walnut for polishing.

Mtdew
December 15, 2006, 01:17 AM
it looks to be the same as midways and midway's is cheaper

Rico567
December 15, 2006, 06:58 AM
"Made by Chicago Electric." Hmmm....we have a city by that name in Illinois. I use the Midway (probably now Frankfort Arsenal) tumbler. It works well. Of course, I also have an old Lyman Turbo Tumbler, one of the first vibratory tumblers made, an it's still going strong.

For media, I go to Pet Smart & buy their corncob pet bedding, available in bags up to 25 lbs. For some reason, when sold as pet bedding, ground corn cobs are much cheaper than when sold as tumbling media. For a polishing compound to incorporate into the media, I got some polish from Auto Zone, NuFinish I think. Just get some that has no ammonia, as this is bad for brass. Once again, for some reason it's far cheaper than the polish that's sold as "brass tumbling polish" by Midway, Dillon, or etc.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
December 15, 2006, 07:26 AM
Tall Pine,

At one time, I bought a bunch of Chicago Electric power tool stuff. Most of it smaller items. It was "okay," but never quite as good as the American company stuff I had.

While I'm all for saving a few dollars, you can pick up Frankford Arsenal tumbler for a little less money and you'll have their excellent customer support and warranty. Harbor Freight's warranty is either 90 days or a year.

I had personal experience where Frankford Arenal replaced and item I bought from them 5 years after I bought it. It was a plastic inertia bullet puller. Pretty good customer support for a cheap tool. I'd go with Frankford Arsenal were I you.

Rico567,

I don't know if you have Dollar General stores in your area, but if you do, they sell that Nu Finish car polish for $4.00 a bottle. Cheaper than Auto Zone.

Dave

mainebear
December 17, 2006, 10:34 AM
Tall Pine: Hi. Midway has a Frandford Arsenal tumbler on sale. Priced at only $29.99. I think that price is good until the end of Dec. Just had one delivered last month. Great little machine. Works just fine.

Tall Pine
December 17, 2006, 11:51 AM
Thanks mainebear but it looks like it is now $40. Looks like you got a great deal.

MCgunner
December 17, 2006, 11:58 AM
I bought a cheap midway vibratory cleaner years ago. It don't hold that much, but does a good job. It's basically just a vibrating platform to which is bungeed a Tupperware rectangular container. I guess I could change the size of the container to increase capacity, but never have. The top's kinda ate up on it, so I sorta need to change the container.

RustyFN
December 17, 2006, 02:23 PM
I bought one at HF for $31. It has worked fine but I have only had it for a couple of months. As far as how long it will last I haven't heard much about them. Dave makes a good point about warranty. I use walnut, Nu Finish car polish and cut a dryer sheet into about 10 pieces. Add all of that to the tumbler, add the brass and after 2 hours looks like new.
Rusty

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=45632&stc=1&d=1159639536

ranger335v
December 18, 2006, 07:07 PM
I've used a Lyman 1200 for something like 18 years now. Its been a good tool but cost far to much for what I got. Had to replace the motor last year, got a really good one with ball bearings, made for a bathroom ceiling fan, from an electric supply house for $12.

Never understood why those things are so expensive! Tumblers consist of a few cheap plastic parts, some springs and an inexpensive motor, none of it precision made. If I were to get a new one it would be from Harbor Freight and then only when on sale for $30. I would NEVER pay the going price of another orange or - heaven forbid - a green vib. tumbler when HF is an option! :banghead:

Some folks say "You get what you pay for." Well, I disagree in part. We may not get more than we pay for but sometimes it seems we often get a lot less than what we paid for. Knowing what we are getting for the price is a better guide than falling for "More expensive is automatically better" BS. :)

SIRVEYR666
December 18, 2006, 07:53 PM
I use Harbor Freight when I need that one special diposable tool.:D

If it breaks or I lose it, it's no big deal. It only cost me $4.00, anyway.:cool:


If you are really cheap and don't need your brass polished in a hurry, you can use the Redneck method that I used to use:

1. Place media into 5 gallon bucket.
2. Add brass.
3. Throw in bed of pick-up to roll around for 1-2 months.
4. Remove semi-clean brass.
5. Buy real tumbler.
6. Never speak of my stupid idea to anyone...ever.

MCgunner
December 18, 2006, 08:07 PM
You know, the way my daughter drives, that might work pretty well in the trunk of her car. :rolleyes:

Idano
December 18, 2006, 08:21 PM
I have had the Midway (Frankford Arsenal) tumbler for about 15 years without a problem, in fact I didn't even exchange it when they did the recall a few years ago. However, I am in consider buying a second tumbler and have considered the Harbor Freight tumbler. Personally I don't see any difference between my Midway and the Harbor Freight, but I haven't had them exactly side-by-side either. But like it was said earlier timbers are not rocket science so if I can get the one at Harbor Freight cheaper then the Midway (Shipping is killing Midway prices) that's exactly what I am going to do.

dexterdog
January 10, 2007, 03:04 PM
My Harbor Freight tumbler blew up recently. :eek:

Got about 5 months use before the motor mounts broke away from the base plate, causing the whole thing to flop around and gouge the bench before the shaft weight got wedged and over-heated the wiring. :banghead:

Fortunately I found it before it really started to burn(although I suspect the breaker would have tripped first . . .maybe).

dexter

Tall Pine
January 10, 2007, 03:10 PM
I FEEL FOR YOU DEXTERDOG.

I FOLLOWED MY GUT INSTINCT AND RETURNED MINE TO HARBOR FREIGHT AND BOUGHT A FRANKLIN ON SALE AT MIDWAY (FOR SAME PRICE AND IT CAME WITH A SEPERATOR AND MEDIA/SOLTION).

I LIKE HARBOR FREIGHT FOR A LOT OF THINGS, BUT WHEN IT COMES TO SOMETHING I WANT TO LAST AWHILE, I'M GONNA SHOP ELSEWHERE. I JUST DONT WANT TO TAKE A CHANCE TO SAVE A FEW DINEROS.

Tall Pine
January 10, 2007, 03:16 PM
SURVEY:

I JUST NOTICED YOUR POST ON YOUR REDNECK METHOD. I THOUGHT I'D POST HERE FOR OTHERS WITH NOT MUCH $$$$$.

BEFORE I GOT A TUMBLER, I PUT SOME GRUNGY BRASS IN PLASTIC CONTAINER WITH TIGHT LID. FILLED IT WITH HOT SOAPY WATER. TUMBLED FOR 15 MINUTES WHILE WATCHING THE NEWS. ABOVE DROVE MY WIFE NUTS FROM THE NOISE OF THAT BRASS.

BUT THAT RIGHT THERE ACTUALLY CLEANED THE BRASS VERY WELL. IT TOOK ALMOST ALL THE POWDER SMUDGE OFF THE BRASS. IT WASNT POLISHED BUT, THEY WERE A LOT CLEANER THAN BEFORE.

JUST AN FYI FOR THOSE BEGINNERS DOWN ON THEIR $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ (not likely since most that reload have lots of $$ tied up in their guns/access)

RVSinOK
January 18, 2007, 07:57 PM
Tall Pine -

Why are you SCREAMING at us?:confused:

Tall Pine
January 18, 2007, 08:31 PM
RVS:

Say what? I thought I added a nice piece of info for the group---a cheap way to clean brass with no specialty equipment. ;)

I can only guess that you just didnt like the all-CAPs typing. Sorry charlie, I promise I wont ever ever ever do it AGAIN :rolleyes:

:neener: :neener: :neener: :neener: :neener:

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